Tomorrow, Apple is expected to introduce the third generation iPad to the world. Needless to say, before every Apple product release, the rumour mill starts to spin frantically around the presumed technical specifications of the device. These range from the most obvious, to the ones inspired by only wishful thinking.
Consequently, it's high time to summarise the buzz over the subject, place the bets on the most likely features, and throw a last glimpse to the most bizarre predictions that the flew around the tech-inclined websites.
The Retina Display
Probably one of the most intensely debated subjects relates to the high-resolution screen that Apple will integrate, into the third generation iPad tablet. A few months ago, analysts suggested that Apple supply chain will not be ready for the mass production of tablet size displays, with the highest resolution on the market, which is currently only reserved for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
Now, the situation has drastically changed, as more news coming from Asian media, mainly the DigiTimes website, quoted sources from Apple's supply chain. The site has reported that Apple has three ‘major manufacturers' working on Retina Display for the iPad 3. The latest information on the subject comes from the MacRumor's team, who supposedly managed to get their hands on an iPad 3 display and confirmed its resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 pixels - four times greater than the iPad 2 features.
One of the few times an iPad 2 owner goes a green shade of envy, is when they look at other tablets and compare the camera capabilities, to their beloved device. Now, the Apple team is expected to address this, in order to better face the competitions' challenges.
Rumours on this matter suggest that the iPad 3 will feature at least a 5megapixel camera, and the most optimistic analysts hint at an 8MP sensor. Additional rumours on this subject relate to LED flash support, with video recording capabilities of 1080p or 720p.
Many have hoped for a quad core A6 processor, with fans applauding enthusiastically at any analysts that supported this assumption. Kevin Krewell, senior analyst for Linley Group wrote: "We expect the A6 will be a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 design, which would be competitive with next year's best mobile processors. In 2012, Nvidia will offer a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor, and Qualcomm will have the aforementioned MSM8960, a dual-core A15-class processor operating at 1.7GHz. Fabricating Apple's A6 in 28nm (instead of the 40nm process Nvidia is using for its quad-core part) will reduce both die cost and power, yielding a much better product."
Although a quad core A6 CPU would be a true leap in performance, the recent reports suggest that Apple intends to integrate in the next-gen iPad a slightly enhanced processor, codenamed A5X.
When it comes to the codes that label Apple products, and more precisely, the leaked information about iPad 3's processor - TheiPadGuides notes "The A5X label only jumps 5 digits to S5L8945X, implying the chip is a more modest improvement over its predecessor." This could mean the new processor will still be able to offer a boost in performance. "A5X would remain a dual-core processor, better graphics processing unit (GPU) cores could improve graphics processing immensely," as Fred Straker from TheiPadGuide, points out.
Based on common sense, any true Apple fan would expect Siri - the all-knowing digital assistant that ensured the iPhone 4S' success - to be also featured in the third generation Apple tablet. Some rumours suggest that we are even going to see, and hear, an improved version of Siri.
When it comes to storage options, the current top-model might not offer enough for the huge array of apps and media content available. Consequently, some analysts suggest that the highest-model of iPad 3 might offer its users up to 256GB of storage space.
Regardless, if we admit it or not, the price tag is one of the critical areas that can make us love or hate a product. On this matter, Apple apparently made it a point, with the recent releases, to drop the prices for older models. This is all in order to allow the new products to be in the same price range as the previous top models.
Consequently, we might get an iPad 3 for prices similar to the current prices of iPad 2, while the iPad 2 might get a drastic price slash.